Thursday, August 18, 2011

Swamp People Are Hot!

The temperatures are once again in the mid 90's now that the rain has stopped,

and the swamp is definately wet and wild,

as seen in the photos above and below!

That's right, an aliigator just ate a six foot long Grey Rat Snake.

You saw it here first!

And this is the kind of action you may be priveledged to enjoy if you are with me on a Louisiana Swamp Tour in August.

So we are back to the sunrise and sunset schedule.

We will always see more wildlife this time of the year if we tour in the cool of the day,

as seen above and below,

when we followed this very large gator before he dove under and exploded away.

Typically, when these big boys go down, you don't see them come up again.

Wildlife was everywhere on this particular day,

and it is hard to keep the boat moving to make a little breeze and evaporate our sweat, with so many photo opportunities.

Not only is Lake Martin pristine and beautiful,

there are many tall shady Bald Cypress in this swamp to shield us from the blazing tropical solar radiation.

As you can see in the photo above, Valyrie, my Louisiana Catahoula is intently focused on something slithering in the water, most likely a little gator, as they are everywhere in the vacinity of the mama gators nest.

Well by the time we got to the now famous post card from Louisiana tree,

I was drenched with perspiration,

but you do what you have to do, to put a smile on your guests face.

One of the neat insects of this time of year is the seven year locust.

It lives underground in the roots of trees for six years as a larvae,

and then in it's seventh year, it tunnels up into the air and sunshine and sheds it's ecktoskeleton, as seen below,

and metamophoses into an adult, and lives in the tree tops.

The seven year locusts are one of the major noise makers buzzing in the trees of Louisiana swamps this time of year, along with the symphony of tree frogs.

If you would like to join me for a Louisiana Swamp Tour, you can call me at 337 298 2630 for reservations. And please bear in are by reservation only.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jambalaya on the Bayou - Hank Williams

It Is All Good!

Trip advisor promotes them self as: Reviews you can trust. Well not in my opinion!

The link above will take you to the site.

I am posting this because after 4 rave reviews in the first half of this year it looks like the owner of de la Houssaye's Swamp Tours(that's me) has gone off the deep end OR someone is trying to hurt me.

I spoke to several other tourist operators of hotels, B&B, and restaurants, and they all told me the same thing: everyone hates trip advisor because they let every wackadoo who want's to post bogus reviews, do so. And worse than that it appears that they allow suspicious reviews that clearly are fabricated by competitors.

The review below is a case in point, regarding the wackadoos.

My family decided a swamp tour would be an interesting thing to do while en route to our vacation destination. We met up with Marcus who was to be our tour guide. I know I will not be able to do this review justice. It is hard to convey in words just how terribly rude someone is capable of being.
The rudeness started tight from the beginning when my 75 year old father decided he was not really feeling well enough to participate. When Marcus realized my father was staying behind, we were treated to a gripe session of how it's not really worth his time to take us out! There were still seven of us left! I should have said forget it at that point but we went out of our way to see a swamp and the kids really wanted to see it. The next problem was when we were putting the four year old in the life jacket. ( good thing we brought one since one was not offered to us!). Marcus snapped at us to hurry up and put it on and sit down!
Finally we were underway. Instead of telling us about the flora and fauna if the swamp, we listened to Marcus talk on his cell phone about government, book deals, and finances! When we stopped an alligator, he finally remembered us and tried yo engage the alligator by feeding it. Finally, we thought things were looking up. We were wrong. When a few of us dared to ask any questions, we were again met with rudeness and belittling. Then we were treated with the most crazy preachings of how our government is sending us to hell and discriminatory remarks against other cultures. A few conspiracy theories were also offered for our listening pleasure. While all this was going on, we just sat there mute. By that time, we were afraid to talk much. We thought it a very real possibility that he might dump us out of the boat and leave us. As I understand it , Marcus is pissed that the government is spraying and killing vegetation in the swamp. Some areas were roped off with signs stating no boats. At one point, Marcus spent a bit of time uprooting one of the signs.

You know, usually I'm a pretty easy going person. Nothing usually bothers me do for me to write this you need to understand the experience was even more horrendous than I was able to make it sound. I am a first grade teacher who is also a girl scout leader. I am a pretty good customer service type of person.

If you are considering a swamp tour, please find someone other than this guy.

My response:
First of all, after doing 2 early morning tours in the cool of the day, I decided to override my common sense, and indulged these people at 1PM in 95' temps, in the middle of July. Second, after 4 other people and her elderly father had the common sense to NOT do the tour because of the heat, I commented that I have to stop doing tours in the middle of the day due to the heat, because people can't take it. That is not a gripe session, it is one sentence, and it is stating common sense. Then she insinuates that there were no life jackets offered, and I snapped at them to put the kid in a life jacket and sit down. That is a lie!

Actually, the child had the life jacket on before even getting into my boat, and I noted that the full body vested life preserver was going to be too hot in 95' temps. The parents both ignored my offer of a cooler life preserver!

After we arrived at the alligator nest and visited the momma gator, this woman suggested that the female alligator urinates on her eggs to incubate them, I corrected her on that, advising that the nest is an incubator of decomposing plants which produces heat, and because alligators are cold blooded, her urine is not warm like ours. I guess first grade teachers don't like being corrected?

I suppose she is also OK observing the destruction of the natural beauty

and ecology of the plants in the swamp and I am not,

and because plant control had just come out

and sprayed herbicides everywhere I do tours, I WAS pissed!

I also suggested that my ancestors have been fighting terrorism since 1492. So if I made discriminating comments about other cultures(against white people?), as she suggested, as a native American, I have that right considering what happened to my ancestors and the land on this continent after white people arrived here!

Toward the end of the tour, the little girl in the life preserver was about to faint(seriously!) from heat stroke, so I suggested that they remove the preserver, and wet the girls skin on the arms and legs, and I turned the boat into the wind to cool the girl off. I went out of my way to do a tour for them at 1PM in the heat of the day, so they could stay on the vacation schedule and do a swamp tour for their children who are fans of Swamp People. At this time of year, I do sunset and sunrise tours, because it is cool, and pleasant, and I make my best effort to do quality tours. I went out of my way to serve these people in the heat of the day, and not for their money, but for their convienence and to accomodate THEIR schedule. I also took good care of them, and rendered first aid when her daughter was suffering from heat stroke due to an inappropriate life vest that the PARENTS provided.

And the bottom line: ALMOST everyone was delighted with the tour, especially all the kids who enjoyed the show I put on with the momma alligator. In fact almost everyone enjoyed the tour so much, her husband gave me a generous tip. Apparently this first grade teacher who made numerous misleading insinuations and false accusations against me, AND accused ME of being in a bad mood, needs an attitude adjustment herself. And apparently she has a lot to learn about honesty is the best policy.

And if I discriminate against another culture: It would have to be lying, mean-spirited white people.

As they say: "No good deed goes unpunished"

And....we keep doing good deeds anyway, because that is who we are, and what we do.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Swamp People On Tour

The popularity of the Swamp People television show is possibly the best thing that has ever happened to the swamp tour industry. So many people are coming to south Louisiana to personally experience some of what they see on TV.

Hi, I am Marcus de la Houssaye, owner and operator of
de la Houssaye's Swamp Tours at Lake Martin.

It has been a great summer so far.

This momma gator has been on the job 24/7 guarding her nest, and making it really easy for me to put on a show for everyone wanting an upclose and personal experience with a mean alligator.

I am having boatload after

boatload of families coming out for some

real life swamp people experiences.

And I am here to warn you: this is not the time of year for mid-day tours.

Early morning is predictably the best for photography

Not only is it cool,

calm, and beautiful,

we will see a lot of wildlife at sunrise and sunset.

And the heating of the day is not only beyond comfortable, it produces the rain this time of year.

So, though the rain was nice and cool, often there were lightning bolts near the rainbows.

The Swamp People television show is possible the best thing to happen to the swamp tour industry since marshmallows was invented.

But seriously, there has been a return to the swamp like I have not seen since the 90's.

If you and your family would like to visit and join me at Lake Martin or in the Atchafalaya Basin for a Louisiana swamp tour I can be reached on my new water proof cell phone at 337 298 2630.